New BMO Credit Card Offers for 2022

BMO has updated the signup bonuses for their BMO Rewards credit cards: the BMO eclipse Visa Infinite Card, the BMO eclipse Visa Infinite Privilege Card, and the BMO World Elite Mastercard.

Keeping pace with a competitive credit card market, BMO has improved the offers on all of these cards. Let’s take a look at what they have in store for this cycle, and examine how appealing these offers are.

Before we dive in, recall that BMO Rewards points have a fixed value of 0.67 cents per point, or 150 points = $1.

BMO eclipse Visa Infinite Card: Up to 60,000 Points

The BMO eclipse Visa Infinite Card is offering a signup bonus of up to 60,000 BMO Rewards points, broken down as follows:

  • Earn 30,000 points upon spending $3,000 in the first three months
  • Earn 2,500 points during each of Months 4 through 15 when you spend $2,000

While this all-time high is a step up from the old offer of 40,000 points split over two years, it’s an excessive spending requirement for a card of its calibre.

To achieve the full welcome bonus, you’d have to spend $24,000 spread evenly over the course of a full year, starting in Month 4. That might suit BMO loyalists, but you’d do much better by diverting that amount of spending towards other credit cards.

For example, the American Express Cobalt Card offers the same monthly bonus of 2,500 points, and the same industry-leading earning rate of 5 points per dollar spent on groceries and restaurants, but only with a $500 monthly spending requirement.

Consider that American Express Membership Rewards points are much more valuable than BMO Rewards points – with a minimum value of 1 cent per point for statement credit, compared to BMO’s maximum value of 0.67 cents per point – and even high spenders and non-travellers would do better with the Cobalt Card.

Put another way, spending $2,000 to earn 2,500 points works out to 1.25 bonus points earned per dollar spent. That’s barely more than the base rate on other Visa Infinite cards.

Even with monthly bonuses, ongoing spending with the BMO eclipse Visa Infinite Card pales in comparison to just getting a new card with a new signup bonus, which often represents more than 10 points earned per dollar spent for the duration of the spending requirement.

Luckily, the card has kept its first-year annual fee waiver, so the only downsides are the opportunity cost of spending on a card that earns more and/or better rewards, or the impact of a credit inquiry that could be used for a more valuable welcome bonus.

You’ll also get an annual $50 lifestyle credit, which can be used for pretty much any purchase.

This credit resets every calendar year, so even if you don’t plan on renewing the card for its second year (at the cost of a $120 annual fee, which can be waived with a premium chequing account), make sure you use your 2023 lifestyle credit before cancelling or downgrading the card.

BMO eclipse Visa Infinite Privilege Card: Up to 90,000 Points…?

The BMO eclipse Visa Infinite Privilege Card has also set an all-time high on paper, up to 90,000 BMO Rewards points. But as always, the devil is in the details:

  • Earn 50,000 points upon spending $6,000 in the first three months

Compared to the previous offer, the spending requirement has slightly increased by $1,000. In return, 50,000 points are awarded in the first year, instead of splitting the same amount across two years (and two hefty annual fees). That trade-off is a win in my books.

What about the remaining 40,000 points? The following is directly from the card’s terms and conditions:

Receive an additional 40,000 BMO Rewards points twelve (12) months after the Credit Card account open date after you spend a minimum of $100,000 (less refunds and excluding cash advances, cash-like transactions, interest charges, fees, credit or debit adjustments) within the first twelve (12) months after the account open date

Umm, what? Nope. I’m not doing that.

That is not a typo. A $100,000 minimum spend requirement would obliterate the record for the Canadian and US credit card markets. It’s not the type of all-time high you want to see.

$100,000 spent for 40,000 points works out to a bonus 0.4 points per dollar spent – and only if you meet the full threshold.

Given the low value of BMO Rewards, that’s equivalent to a bonus 0.267% Return on Spend, which could easily be exceeded by, say, stepping up your spend from an Aeroplan core card to an Aeroplan premium card, even without any welcome bonus.

I’d only consider attempting the latter part of the signup bonus if…

  1. You are an extremely high spender,
  2. The places you shop don’t take Amex,
  3. You value the simplicity of not having to juggle multiple credit cards, and
  4. The vast majority of your expenses are at stores classified in the 5x rewards categories, to the point where you get more value per dollar spent than you would with an Aeroplan Visa card from TD or CIBC.

That’s such a perfect storm of conditions, I can’t imagine many people should pursue this bonus – and I bet many who do could do much better.

Otherwise, treat this offer as 50,000 points. The saving grace is that the “full” bonus is awarded in the first year, so you’ll only have to pay one $499 annual fee.

Plus, the annual $200 lifestyle credit resets every calendar year, bringing your first-year net costs down to $99 for 50,000 points. Even for a low-value currency, that’s not unreasonable, and it’s objectively an improvement from the old offer.

BMO World Elite Mastercard: Up to 60,000 Points

The BMO World Elite Mastercard is also getting boosted to new highs. It has the same offer as the BMO eclipse Visa Infinite Card:

  • Earn 30,000 points upon spending $3,000 in the first three months
  • Earn 2,500 points for each of Months 4 through 15 when you spend $2,000

It’s also offering a first year annual fee waiver, with a $150 annual fee thereafter.

Between the two, the Visa card is a winner in many areas:

  • 5x rewards on dining, groceries, gas, and transit
  • $50 annual lifestyle credit every calendar year ($100 in the first cardholder year)
  • $30 lower annual fee (after the First Year Free)

But the Mastercard has several distinct advantages:

  • Travel insurance on award tickets in any frequent flyer program partially paid with the card (i.e. taxes and fees)
  • Costco acceptance
  • LoungeKey membership with four complimentary visits per year
  • 3x rewards on travel and entertainment
  • 2x rewards on uncategorized purchases

At the time of BMO’s most recent devaluation, I speculated on the demise of the BMO World Elite Mastercard, to be overshadowed and perhaps replaced by the new eclipse Visa cards.

It looks like the card isn’t going anywhere for now, and has bounced back with a signup bonus now on par with its Visa Infinite counterpart, with the two filling different roles depending on what you’re looking for.

BMO Air Miles Cards: Ongoing Offers

The signup bonus on the BMO Air Miles World Elite Mastercard is holding steady. You’ll earn 2,000 Air Miles upon spending $3,000 in three months, with promotional links for 3,000 Air Miles occasionally available.

What’s not holding steady, however, is the value of Air Miles. With recent changes to flight redemptions, they’ve added the ability to book any flight, but at the cost of fixed-price sweet spots.

As such, the value of Dream Rewards has tanked, making the program a glorified cash back scheme with more restrictions.

BMO’s Air Miles credit cards remain a viable alternative if you’re not excited by BMO Rewards, but yet again, there are likely even better options out there.

Conclusion

BMO has increased the signup bonuses for all of their cards that earn BMO Rewards. However, given the languid nature of the BMO Rewards program, I’d generally favour other points programs, despite the high “sticker” value of these new offers.

In particular, I’m disappointed by the high spending requirements for such a low-value points currency. I can understand a $2,000 monthly spending requirement for a premium credit card like the American Express Aeroplan Business Reserve Card, but for BMO Rewards it just doesn’t seem worth the effort or opportunity cost. 

These offers are officially running until December 6, 2022. BMO doesn’t change their offers very frequently, they often extend their offers, and these updates replace the old offers which were slated to expire on the same date.

Therefore, I’d treat these signup bonuses as open-ended, with no predictable deadline and subject to change on a whim – so apply whenever it suits you if these cards catch your eye.

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